I've a laptop (IBM T42) which has its current bog standard 30GB disk, the user is running out of space and thus I'm upgrading them to a 160GB disk.

I'd rather avoid paying the Windows XP license again (It currently has an OEM IBM-provided install) so ideally I'd like to clone the small disk to the bigger. I attempted to do this using Clonezilla however it failed due to multiple corruption errors (I can't recall the exact error) on the main partition (secondary partition cloned fine) which is strange as Windows can boot into it fine. The image was being saved to a USB external drive and I attempted to restore which was successful however upon booting it fails with a disk error. I even re-tried with "dd" the famous disk replication tool however the same errors occurred.

How can I resolve this? I don't mind using a different cloning tool (or something else?) however would prefer it be free.


11 Answers 11


The disk has errors - probably in the free space Windows isn't currently using, or files that aren't being used.

First, fix the errors, probably with something like Spinrite

  • chkdsk returns no errors and surely if it did have errors the cloning should copy them along also anyhow? Jun 27 '09 at 14:48
  • chkdsk will not detect most kinds of errors if they exist outside the logical drive being checked, yet those errors may cause cloning to fail. I am not aware of Windows cloning software that will copy errors.
    – John Gardeniers
    Jul 27 '09 at 3:01
  • I remember Joel mentioning that IBM/Lenovo does something crazy with their boot-record and/or partitioning that makes drive cloning them really aggravating.. worth looking into. Jul 31 '09 at 9:19

I've had good luck cloning with Acronis and I've heard good things about Norton Ghost as well.

So long as you aren't changing too much hardware you should be OK.

  • Not free, I'm pretty much limited to free solutions for this unfortunately...else that would void the point of trying not to pay for another Windows license :) Jun 27 '09 at 14:47
  • True, but that was only a preference :) However, there is a free trial... acronis.com/homecomputing/download/trueimage
    – BIBD
    Jun 29 '09 at 19:29

A free solution would be XXClone. It might get round your errors since it doesn't do a traditional disk image clone.

A pay for solution which has consistently worked for me when I went from the 30GB hard disk in my X31 to a 100GB to a 250GB one is Acronis Migrate Easy. (I still can't post more than one direct link, sorry!) There's a trial version so if other free solutions fail, you can give it a go and only pay if it works.


I would prefer Acronis, but it's not free. My first free preference would be Clonezilla: http://gpartedclonz.tuxfamily.org/

  • Clonezilla was the tool I tried in my original post, unfortunately that failed. Jun 27 '09 at 14:51

I have used Clonezilla successfully in cases like this. It would be the first tool I would reach for to do this job.

Perhaps you should run chkdsk and maybe defrag on the current disk before trying to make the image.

I would be interested to hear how you solved this in the end.


Maybe you got some bad sectors from the old drive, have you tried running 'chkdsk /r /f' on it before cloning the drive ?

If it still can not boot, we need the specific error message to help you further. Try inserting the windows installation cd, and choose repair windows installation. It won't delete your user settings and program files.

  • Yup, nothing returned from chkdsk, no errors found and thus none corrected. The errors aren't from Windows itself, they're from the actual machine...it doesn't get into booting the OS. I'll get you the errors on Monday however the restore one was pretty box standard, something along the lines of "Disk error", no specific error messages. Jun 27 '09 at 14:50

Have you not got a "rescue disk" that would let you reinstall "as new" on to he new HD, before then using XP's settings transfer wizard to get across the personal settings, et al.?

  • Nope, unfortunately they've been lost sometime in the past. Jun 27 '09 at 19:25

Actually, even though it is an OEM license, if you reinstall it on your new HDD and it won't activate, there is a link to a MS phone number. Call that activation hot line and they will manually activate it for you, just explain that it is the same hardware minus the HDD. I've done this literally hundreds of times without incident.

  • It was an OEM that was pre-installed on the laptop, the key is on the bottom of the laptop as usual but we haven't the IBM disks and thus can't use the key on a normal copy of Windows. Jun 27 '09 at 19:24
  • Ah, without an OEM disk, even a normal XP disk with those keys won't work. There are three keysets for XP: one for OEM, one for retail/upgrade and one for Corporate(VLK). The type of key must be used with the same type of disk anyway, so without this you might be best off with the 30 day trial of Acronis or Ghost.
    – MDMarra
    Jun 27 '09 at 23:47

Personally I have an old copy of Ghost 2003. Best ghost ever imo. It can clone and resize disks while ignoring errors. There is probably better things to use now a days, but this one is great.


I just did a successful clone by plugging my disks into a linux box and using ntfsclone and ntfsresize from the ntfsprogs suite. I basically followed instructions for cloning using Linux but (a) copied with ntfsclone instead of dd and (b) found I had to resize the file system with ntfsresize after enlarging the partition using qtparted.

If you can, you're much better off avoiding USB disks, since they are very slow, but if the laptop is your only computer you can still do it via USB.


try Clonezilla.

1.Its Free of cost. GPL licensed 2.Can do a complete copy 3.can backup and restore MBR 4. works if your source and destination disks/partitios are of different sizes (need to work in expert mode for this and avoid overwriting existing filesystem)

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